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Senate District 27 Race Focuses On Jobs, Education

Jillian Olivas |
October 15, 2012 | 6:11 a.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

Sen. Fran Pavley and challenger Todd Zink compete to win State District 27. (Dawn Megli/Neon Tommy)
Sen. Fran Pavley and challenger Todd Zink compete to win State District 27. (Dawn Megli/Neon Tommy)
Democratic Sen. Fran Pavley and Republican candidate Todd Zink feature the economy and education reform at the head of their campaigns for California's 27th State Senate District.

The district was newly drawn to include parts of eastern Ventura County and western Los Angeles County, including Thousand Oaks, Calabasas, Camarillo, Moorpark, Agoura Hills, Westlake Village and Simi Valley.

This election is significant as it has the potential to give Democrats a supermajority in the state senate. Democrats need two more seats to control two-thirds of the senate. A supermajority would, among other things, give Democrats the ability to raise taxes.

"It is incredibly crucial for the future of our state that Sen. Pavley does not create a supermajority for the Democrats," Zink said. "They would then be able to raise taxes without a vote of the people."

Walt Sembauer, a voter in District 27, says he is not concerned with the idea of a supermajority.

However, he does want to make sure that the candidate he votes for champions fiscal responsibility.

"There is so much waste in California," Sembauer said. "[Politicians] spend a lot of money that we don't have."

While he has not decided who to vote for, Sembauer says that he wants to vote for the candidate that will not create new taxes or stifle the economy.

In order to win, the candidates need to convince voters that they can improve California's economy and education system without resorting to unpopular tax increases.

Pavley and Zink will also need to focus on the voters' concerns that the economy and education systems can be reformed by politicians in Sacramento. 

Job creation will be a crucial point for both campaigns.

Zink is endorsed by the California Small Business Association, a non-partisan organization that seeks to provide a voice for small business in government at the local and national level.

"California's economy and employment relies on small business. The legislature's job-killing policies are absolutely crushing our state," Zink said. "We must revive our economy by creating legislation that allows for and encourages small business to flourish."

Zink plans to reverse the practice of businesses leaving California by creating a favorable atmosphere for them to operate.

"It is time to attract and retain jobs by creating an authentic economy, removing the political tape that inhibits growth," he said.

Making California more business-friendly is one of Pavely’s goals as well. In 2011, she co-authored SB 617, a bill designed to improve California’s business climate by requiring agencies to look at compliance costs in addition to the effects on the environment and public health.

Pavley's plan for job creation focuses on green energy and jobs. Her television ad boasts that her clean energy bill has brought in over $30 billion in investments and created over 30,000 new jobs.

Creating jobs is crucial to the campaigns because it offers a way to increase tax revenue without raising tax rates. Every new job creates a new taxpayer and each new company creates more tax revenue for the state. 

In addition to the economy, the candidates have plans for improving California’s education system.

"Education is, and will remain, a top priority in my campaign," Zink said. "Like any high functioning entity, the education system needs to use common-sense methods of operation, such as the ability to hire good teachers and remove bad teachers. There is too much infighting within California's school system."

Zink also plans to incorporate more technology into classrooms to address the needs of students while also offsetting costs. 

"Offering solutions through technology is one of the few options that can actually relieve budget straining over the long haul," he said.

Pavley, who taught middle school for 28 years, added that her experience in government and education would be crucial to getting California back on track.

“We need to go back and look at that formula that made us great, invest in education, innovation and infrastructure. I can’t wait to go back to Sacramento because those are my priorities,” she said.

Specifically, Pavley is working on ways to cut down costs for students attending state colleges and universities without raising taxes across the board. She is writing legislation that would lower the cost of textbooks for students and supported the Middle Class Scholarship Act that aimed to lower fees for students whose families earn less than $150,000. 

Zink edged out Pavley in the primary, winning 51 percent of the vote. However, 41 percent of District 27 is registered Democrat while only 34 percent is registered Republican.


Reach Staff Reporter Jillian Olivas here.



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